The European Commission yesterday adopted amended guidelines for managing the electricity cross-border trade in the European Union (EU), in a bid to improve the way the electricity transmission system is operated.

The rules require improved cooperation between Transmission System Operators (TSOs) to allocate cross-border flows and manage bottlenecks in the transmission network.

TSOs have to use a common method to allocate transmission capacity considering the European network as one single network, said the commission, the executive body of the EU.

"The blackout last Saturday demonstrated how important proper management of the European electricity transmission network is. These guidelines are a great step forward in the development of the internal energy market, and a positive example of improved cooperation between regulators," said EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

The new guidelines were adopted days after Piebalgs' call for an urgent meeting of the group of regulators to investigate the causes of the blackout.

The commission will propose in January a set of measures to permit TSOs to work in a legally established group with a mechanism to adopt legally binding security and operational rules.

Currently, TSOs work on voluntary agreements with no enforcement system to monitor the application of their voluntary rules.

In the guidelines, Europe is divided into seven regions based on the physical reality of the network. Southeast Europe will be the eighth region applying the same rules through the Energy Community Treaty, said the commission.

The new guidelines enter into force 20 days after their publication in the EU official journal.